When Cornell students think of the Big Red Ambition list, one task inevitably looms larger than all other entries on the list — #1: Sex in the Stacks. A few days before this column (my last!) was due, I realized that the year I’ve spent writing about the 161 things would be incomplete without accomplishing #1. Typically, only bad things come from my propositions, so I was pleasantly surprised when J. agreed to head to Libe Cafe in time for my final Sun deadline.
Around midnight, we walked inconspicuously into Olin and headed for the elevator. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re not having sex in Olin or Uris (the real libraries), you may as well just stick to your bedroom. I really wanted to go at it in the stacks where most of the books for my thesis are housed, but the occupied desks were a little too close for comfort. So, we walked around the perimeter of the floor until we found a quiet aisle. Although we got some knowing glances from the straggling studiers on the far end of the floor, none of them seemed like the type to be interested in watching, so I figured we were safe. J., on the other hand, suggested we just go to the bathroom, which obviously doesn’t count. Neither — it should go without saying — does a locked study room or the Olin basement. If you can’t get caught, what’s the point?
Overall, the experience was less awkward than expected. Positioning was a little tricky, and the periodic sound of footsteps was incredibly nerve-wracking, but half the fun was trying to figure out the best way to go about the whole thing. It was not, to quote our eloquent Slope Day guest, “the best I ever had,” but it was pretty good. When we were finished, J. and I slipped out of the library as discretely as we’d entered.
It was the perfect experience to bring to a close my involvement with the 161 list. Writing this column has exposed me to so many different aspects of Cornell — from the wonders of Kroch to Rocky Horror at Risley. Most significantly, however, its value as a constant reminder that, as college students, our time in Ithaca is finite has served as an impetus for partaking in so many activities I would have never otherwise attempted. I have really wanted to have sex in the stacks since my sophomore year, but I doubt that I would have had the nerve to do so without the incentive of checking it off the list.
When I asked Sun sex columnist Jeff K. for a one-sentence reaction to the fact that I have had sex in the stacks and he hasn’t, he joked, “Either I’m a bad sex columnist or you’re a very good 161 things writer. Maybe a combination of the two?” (He’s a pretty great sex columnist, so I must be an absolutely awesome 161 things writer.) He then went on to say that #1 has never been a huge priority for him, perhaps because he doesn’t have “any resentment towards the library … like everyone else does.”
The Big Red Ambition list shouldn’t be about wasting time with things you don’t have any real desire to do; rather, it should serve as an inspiration to check things off your personal college to-do list. In addition to sitting atop the 161 list, sex in the stacks was first on my own pre-graduation agenda because it seemed, for me, such a classically collegiate activity, and I knew it would not hold the same significance after commencement. So, whether you have three weeks or three years left on the slope, take the time to complete your own #1 items before it’s too late.
Since I am now finished being “that 161 things girl,” I’d like to thank everyone who did the list with me, especially B., for documenting everything; my wonderful roommates — A., T., E., S. and J. for enduring more than their fair share of less than complimentary shoutouts (I’m sorry that Jessie got so many more than the rest of you); C., for being willing to do just about everything; and E., for coming up with this column. Happy 161-ing, everyone. One last note — Susan Murphy, I’ll see you drunk on the slope tomorrow (#125) — be on the lookout! RLD